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Daily Archives: 19. December 2016 − News & Stories

Head of north­po­le expe­di­ti­on “Ark­ti­ka 2.0” must go to court

A french skip­per, who is accu­sed of having vio­la­ted several of the strict requi­re­ments for the pro­tec­tion of the envi­ron­ment on Sval­bard, is to pay a fine of 25,000 crowns (€ 2750). The two French adven­tu­rers Gil­les and Ale­xia Elkaim were actual­ly on the way to the North Pole in Sep­tem­ber and Octo­ber this year, but had to rever­se due to bad wea­ther con­di­ti­ons.

The fact that they sought pro­tec­tion from a storm in one of the most severely pro­tec­ted are­as of Sval­bard with their sailor “Ark­ti­ka” could now be their doom. The 56-year-old skip­per does not want to pay the penal­ty. The case will then be heard befo­re the District Court (Tin­g­rett) Nord-Troms on Febru­a­ry 23rd and 24th.

The adven­tu­rers are accu­sed of having ancho­red in the area around Kong Karls Land in the east of Sval­bard wit­hin the pro­tec­tion zone for three days, and having ent­e­red the island of Svens­køya with their seven hus­kies. Svens­køya is sub­ject to rigo­rous rules of pro­tec­tion: it is for­bid­den to approach the island more than 500 meters, and ent­e­ring is for­bid­den all year round. The skip­per is also sup­po­sed to have ille­gal­ly impor­ted his dogs to Sval­bard and to not have appro­ved per­mis­si­on for his expe­di­ti­on. In lar­ge parts of Sval­bard, the­re is a requi­re­ment for indi­vi­du­al tou­rists.

Polar bear in the Duve­fjor­den, whe­re the French expe­di­ti­on ancho­red. The Duve­fjord is loca­ted in the Nord­aust-Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ve and is also pro­tec­ted as a sci­en­ti­fic refe­rence area.

Often such dis­pu­tes are a ques­ti­on of the point of view. Gil­les Elkaim descri­bes the case on 23rd Novem­ber from his per­spec­ti­ve on his Face­book page: he asked the Sys­sel­man­nen for aut­ho­riz­a­ti­on to over­win­ter on Octo­ber 8th, but did not recei­ve a respon­se for days. Elkaim claims also to have reques­ted for per­mis­si­on to import the dogs alrea­dy in July – without reac­tion. The “Ark­ti­ka” had con­si­derable pro­blems with the engi­ne and a water pump at the begin­ning of Octo­ber and could the­re­fo­re not con­ti­nue. He wan­ted to get the ship safe from an emer­gen­cy. To get the boat out of the pro­tec­ted area, the Sys­sel­manns deci­ded to tow the “Ark­ti­ka” and the crew to Lon­gye­ar­by­en on Octo­ber 13th. An action with con­se­quen­ces. The expe­di­ti­on has been ter­mi­na­ted.

In the Duve­fjor­den and on the Svens­køya ancho­red the Arc­tic befo­re being towed to Longyearbyen​.

Home­page of the expe­di­ti­on
Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten, iFinnmark.no


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